Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Medical disqualification

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Q. I will be 52 and have 29 years of technician service (32 years National Guard) under FERS. If I was diagnosed with a medical condition that ended my military career, would I be eligible for the non-reduced pension/Social
Security Offset/ and access to my TSP, since I have 25 years, I am age 50 and would be losing my military position through no fault of my own? Read the rest of this entry »

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Discontinued service retirement

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Q. I have 25 years and three months as a FERS employee. If my agency separated me due to poor job performance, would I be eligible for a discontinued service retirement ?

A. Yes.

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Disability retirement conversion to other retirement

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Q. I was retired on CSRS disability with 30 years of service at age 52. OPM has sent me a letter that I have made too much money for 2010 through 2012. I would have been eligible for full retirement in July 2009 (and will be age 60 in July 2014). What are my options? Can I convert to full retirement or discontinued service retirement? Can I do this retroactively to 2009? Read the rest of this entry »

Disability vs. early retirement

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Q. I am 51 years old and have suffered a stroke. I realize I could probably apply for FERS disability retirement, but I have a dilemma. I am buying back my military service time, but I have about five years to buy it all back. Which is better to apply for disability retirement or regular early retirement? Read the rest of this entry »

Involuntary termination annuity penalties

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Q. I have been working as a term federal employee paid by a research grant and covered by FERS. The funding for my position may end soon, forcing me to be involuntarily terminated from my position at age 58 with 29 years towards retirement. I understand that if I quit voluntarily and took an immediate annuity it would be reduced because I am under age 62. However, if I were permanent and were involuntarily separated I would not see this reduction. Since I am term and separated involuntarily, will I have a reduction in an immediate annuity? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS rehired annuitant and VERA/VSIP

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Q. I am a discontinued service rehired annuitant. I worked at a U.S. Army post and was phased out during a base closure and realignment in 2011. I received priority placement in 2012 at a nearby Army post and was rehired. I’ve been here almost two years. VERA/VSIP is now being offered with a $25,000 buyout. I have the age and years in. I’m not interested in leaving yet; but as a FERS rehired annuitant, would I be eligible for the VERA/VSIP $25,000 buyout presently being offered? Read the rest of this entry »

Discontinued service retirement eligibility

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Q. I am 57 years old and have 28 years of federal service with the Navy. Due to my declining a transfer of function outside of my commuting area, I will be separated from government service July 31. Am I entitled to a discontinued service retirement?

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Involuntary separation, health insurance and deferred retirement

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Q. I am 57 years and two months old. I am most likely going receive a sanction on my nursing license in late April or early May. I have 21 years and three months of service, including three years of military buyback time. I have carried federal health insurance since 1995. If I wait until the probable board sanction and I get terminated, will I still be able to defer retirement until age 60? Will I still be able to continue health insurance at age 60? Or would it be better to retire the day before the stated board of nursing action and avoid termination? Also, if I am terminated do I go to human resources and apply for deferred retirement, or do I do it through the Office of Personnel Management?

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SRS eligibility

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Q. FERS discontinued service retirement with 29 years and nine months. After five months of trying to reach the Office of Personnel Management, I was told I’m not entitled to the special retirement supplement due to less than 30 years. I am 56 years old. All paperwork received prior to retirement indicated that I was entitled to it.

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Collecting retirement

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Q. I am a federal air technician with the Air National Guard. I have 34 years in the Guard and 27 years as a federal full-time technician. I am in FERS and have a minimum retirement age of 56. I will be 53 this year.

It has been communicated to me that I will probably not be retained this year, meaning that Dec. 31, 2014, I will be involuntarily retired, thus losing my full (technician) and part-time (traditional Guard) employment. When can I begin collecting my retirement pay, Social Security, Thrift Savings Plan? Are there any penalties if I was forced to retire?

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Discontinued service retirement

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Q. I am a dual status military technician, who will be 57½ years of age at my mandatory retirement date and have 23 years federal service under FERS. Due to the MRD of July 31, 2016, I will be involuntarily separated from my federal job, and not make 25 creditable years of service. Can I get a FERS retirement without a reduced annuity?

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VERA

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 Q. I am a postmaster under FERS. I have 30 years of service and will be 53 years and 11 months old when I receive separation notice in September. All my research suggests I will be able to retire under discontinued service retirement. It seems illogical the Postal Service would offer a VERA eight months before that. It seems to suggest that an obscure fact will be revealed then that will disqualify myself and others from DSR. How could I protect myself in that event?

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Disability retirement, MRA and annuity calculation

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Q. I have been on disability retirement from the Postal Service since October 1988. I am 56 years old (57 in March) and would like to inquire as to my options to retire under MRA. Also, can I receive a ballpark estimate of how much I would get (monthly/yearly) and all other pertinent information? I believe that I read on the Office of Personnel Management’s Web page that it would be 1 percent of my high-3 income while at the post office, but I am not sure how to do this calculation. If this is an option for me to retire now, what would be the necessary steps to get this accomplished?

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Converting to regular retirement

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Q. I was a CSRS clerk who got injured off the job. I have 29½ years and am 53 years old. When I turn 55, can I convert to regular retirement? (I am currently on disability retirement.) And can I take an early-out if one is offered?

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Discontinued service retirement and SRS eligibility

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Q. I am a 50-year-old dual-status Air National Guard military technician under FERS. If I decline to enter into the Disability Evaluation System solely for a fitness determination, and am involuntarily separated for Physical Disqualification IAW AFI 36-3209, paragraph 3.14 for enlisted personnel, am I entitled to the special retirement supplement immediately if I retire under a discontinued service retirement with 24 years and four months of service, or will it begin at minimum retirement age (56 years for me)?

If I enter into the DES and the time it takes to go through gets me over 25 years service as a technician, does it make a difference as far as an immediate FERS annuity supplement is concerned?

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Discontinued service retirement?

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Q. I have 18 years of federal service under FERS and am 51 years old. If my agency rates me unacceptable and removes me for inability to perform, would I be eligible for discontinued service retirement? Would my annuity be postponed until I reach an older age?

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Discontinued service retirement

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 Q. I was off work for several months because for surgery on my arm. When I came back to work, I was put in the same job that I had. The problem is, I work in a shop and, because of my limits, I am unable to do my job. My unit has no other jobs that are open for me to do, so I told them I would take a discontinued service retirement. This started several months ago because they are going for a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. The problem I see is that I was never offered another job, even after telling them I can’t do my job. I showed my unit Form 1510. They still are going for the VERA.

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Discontinued service retirement vs. disability retirement

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Q. What is the difference financially between discontinued service retirement and disability retirement? I am 55 with 25 years of service under FERS. My high-3 is as a GS11-07.

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FERS disability and other options

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Q. I retired on FERS disability in 2009 at the age of 46 with 17 years of service. I applied for FERS and went on various leave until approved. When I was approved, my position was eliminated from the agency within my state. I had been given a direct reassignment, which I declined due to the nature of the duties (similar to what I was disabling on) and the distance for transfer (130 miles away). Plus, the position had additional duties of driving for two hours daily — a duty I could not do (This was known for years within the agency). My separation papers reflected my original position as the disabling position, not the reassignment.

I went through one medical questionnaire two years ago, and I am now getting ready for the second one. The difference now is that I have a new doctor who has not yet been involved in such a questionnaire.  I assume all will get well because nothing has changed, and he is aware of my conditions.

1. If for this reason, I am removed from FERS disability, what are my options concerning retirement: discontinued, involuntary separation or nothing? I am age 50 but with the 17 years of service, can I convert to any other type of retirement, or must I wait until my minimum retirement age of 56?

2. If my doctor is not supportive and I submit the form without physician comments, what happens then?

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Discontinued service retirement?

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Q. I am a Postal Service employee in maintenance as an electrical technician. I have 23 years of service at age 56. Our office is going through an accelerated plant closing. I received a letter of involuntary reassignment (no date given) in May. There are no ET jobs within 50 miles of our office (limit on excessing under American Postal Workers Union contract). Under the contract, I can be forced into a lower-level job, (window clerk, city carrier, custodian) up to 50 miles away with saved grade and retreat rights. Can I qualify for a discontinued service retirement? If not, what do I need to qualify? I would like to retire without penalty. Otherwise, I need to work until I am age 60. Are there any other options I don’t know about?

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